Thanksgiving is exactly one week away and if you haven’t started to think about preparations for the biggest food holiday of the year, NOW would be a good time to start. Every night for the past two weeks I’ve been drifting off to sleep thinking about which dishes I plan on serving then waking with food on my mind – I have a bad case of Thanksgivingitus. This week in particular I’ve been focusing on my food shopping strategy making sure I don’t buy too much “regular” food in order to clear space in the fridge to brine two turkeys (20 lbs. each) and stock up on everything I need to prepare enough food for two large Thanksgiving gatherings we are hosting. You wouldn’t believe how challenging it is to play real life Tetris with bottles and jars of food, adjusting them while stacking them on top of one another ever so perfectly hoping nothing breaks every time I open the fridge door.
Meal planning and shopping during this time of year can be stressful if you wait until the last minute to buy all the ingredients you need especially the closer you get to Thanksgiving. Although I know some grocery and drug stores will be opened on Thanksgiving Day, do you even want to risk the chance you will be caught off guard buying a fruit cake that has been collecting dust for who knows how long from a shelf that shares an aisle with athlete’s foot cream? Take a minute to soak in that visual. I’m talking to you, bro.
Instead, I recommend spending some time before the end of this weekend to write down your shopping list along with bookmarking the recipes you plan on preparing on your smart phone, like all the cheesecake recipes I’ve been sharing with you. Get your shopping done now so you can spend the couple days before Thanksgiving cooking and baking anything you can prepare ahead of time instead of doing an-all nighter like I’ve done in years past. I don’t recommend this at all, unless you like hosting parties with dark circles under your red eyes sipping on an IV drip of coffee while fighting to stay awake as your head jerks every three minutes because your eyes fail you as they insist on falling asleep but your will and pride won’t let them.
From a practical point of view, this is the week when all the grocery stores have many of their Thanksgiving related ingredients on super sale. Just yesterday I picked up 12 boxes of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese on a great deal which was perfect because on Tuesday I will making the cheesecakes I’ve been featuring here recently for my family and friends as part of my dessert table. There is a smug part of me that relishes in knowing I can make a better tasting cheesecake than the ones you buy frozen at the store or from a bakery at a fraction of the cost.
If you want to make a great and memorable cheesecake, you must start with great ingredients. When it comes to cheesecake, I’ve been using Philadelphia cream cheese for years for its excellent flavor and creaminess. This is why I’m partnering with them this holiday season to bring you some Cheesecake Cheer along with easy entertaining tips to inspire you to share your love of cheesecake with those you love the most.
Move over pecan pie, there is a new pecan dessert in town and it’s not you. Today I have a fabulous recipe for Cinnamon Pecan Cheesecake. It is the perfect dessert to finish off your holiday meal with a cup of hot coffee, cider, or tea. The cheesecake begins with a graham cracker pecan cinnamon crust, followed by a rich and creamy layer of cheesecake, and finished off with a rich brown sugar caramel syrup with a hint of cardamom on a bed of pecans – absolutely glorious!
Just make sure to get to the store soon and buy everything you need. This way by Tuesday or Wednesday evening you can make this cheesecake in advance and have it ready by Thursday. You will be so glad you did, from the first bite till the last.
To inspire you with more #CheesecakeCheer goodness, I invite you to check out this beautiful interactive holiday room video I filmed in NYC making the Black Tie Cheesecake I recently featured here on Savory Sweet Life along with these beautiful Cranberry Candle Centerpieces I posted about last week with step-by-step photo instructions. It might just give you the visual inspiration you need to make this year’s holidays magical and memorable. Of course, you can always visit Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s CheesecakeCheer.com site for so many more cheesecake recipes to help make your holiday dessert table extra special.
As we quickly approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, I invite you to explore the interactive Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cheesecake Cheer site (CheesecakeCheer.com) for more holiday cheesecake ideas along with great entertainment tips from Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade, Bri Emery of designlovefest, and myself.
This cheesecake recipe was sponsored by sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese/Kraft Foods
You can find Philadelphia Cream Cheese on their social media channels:
Twitter: @lovemyphilly #CheesecakeCheer
Facebook: Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 1 cup HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1¾ cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans, divided
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
- ⅓ cup butter, divided
- 4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
- Heat oven to 325°F.
- Mix crumbs, ¾ cup nuts, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. melted butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
- Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
- Bake 1 hour 10 min. to 1 hour 15 min or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
- In a small saucepan combine remaining butter and brown sugar. Cook for 3-5 min or until very bubbly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cool until room temperature and spoon over cooled cheesecake.
- Size-Wise: Enjoy a serving of this rich and indulgent treat on special occasions.
- Note: Reduce oven temperature to 300ºF if using a dark nonstick spring form pan.